Central African Republic (MNN) — More Central African Republic (CAR) violence has put this landlocked nation back into the international spotlight. Over 20 people were killed midweek outside the central town of Bambari, which had largely avoided the ongoing Muslim-Christian turmoil until recently.
In another midweek development, the CAR’s government is calling upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) for an investigation into the country’s war crimes. The UN released a report last week citing “ample evidence” of war crimes committed by both Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian anti-balaka radicals.
“These killings that are happening on both sides started out to be ethnic-based…. Now it’s become more of a ‘You killed us, or you kidnapped us, we’re going to do the same. Only, we’re going to do it one step more,'” says Jim Hocking with Water for Good.
“This ‘tit-for-tat’ continues to grow and continues to get worse.”
Water for Good is the in-country ministry partner of both Living Water International and Reach Beyond. They drill and maintain clean water wells throughout the country, as well as operate a radio station in Bangui.
While Gospel work continues, their projects desperately need your help, says Hocking. “We need financial backing to continue to minister. They need our help,” he states. “If we had more finances, we could minister to more people.”
Truck drivers who haul humanitarian aid from Cameroon to CAR villages have stopped all their deliveries, saying the risk of attack is too great. And yet, Water for Good well maintenance teams–who travel many of the same roads–are continuing their work.
“We have very good relationships with villages and both sides of the conflict, and have been able to avoid problems,” Hocking explains. “We have six crews on the road almost constantly, trying to keep village wells pumping water across the country.”
While the teams still face danger, “All we can do is pray and try to give our teams the tools that they can use in order to prevent a crisis from happening.”
The radio station Water for Good in Bangui, with the help of Reach Beyond, provides a much-needed silver lining. They’re regularly broadcasting messages of reconciliation and Gospel hope, as well as security briefs.
French peacekeeping troops in the CAR recently commended the ministry’s broadcasts.
“We didn’t realize that the French were listening as much to our radio station as they are, but that’s really incredible because there [are] evangelistic messages every day,” Hocking shares.
“We’re very pleased to hear that they’re listening to it. We don’t know the impact that will make in the long-term, but at least we know the officials are listening, and across the country, villages are listening.”
Your prayers for reconciliation are needed.
“It’s not moving forward right now because there’s too much anger, too much hurt in the country, and we just have to pray daily for the Christians that are in the midst of this,” says Hocking.
Pray that villagers will take God’s Word to heart and forgive those who wrong them. Pray that both sides can move toward a peaceful resolution.
“It’s easy to be angry; it’s easy to be hurt. There’s hardly a person who hasn’t had a relative [or] a friend whose home has been looted, [or an] aunt or uncle who has been killed,” Hocking says.
“It’s easy to become angry and vengeful, rather than keeping an attitude of forgiveness that our Lord demands from us.”